Michelangelo’s David: Focus on the Lord The age-old tale of David and Goliath, meticulously recorded in the 17th chapter of 1 Samuel, reverberates through the annals of time. This story, deeply etched in the collective consciousness, unfolds in a valley where Saul and his army confront the Philistines. The atmosphere is tense, and as described in verse 2, a towering figure emerges from the Philistine ranks. Goliath, the Philistine ‘champion’, stands at an imposing height of approximately 9′ 7″, casting a shadow not just in terms of stature but one of palpable fear over the Israelite army. In the face of such overwhelming odds, while many hearts quaked in trepidation, a young shepherd from Bethlehem named David perceived things differently. This wasn’t just another intimidating foe but a divine stage set for him. David, dispatched by his father Jesse to the battlefield with supplies, possessed an unwavering faith, which remained undeterred by Goliath’s intimidating presence. Instead of a colossal adversary, David saw an unmatched opportunity to manifest God’s omnipotent power. His past confrontations, notably with a lion and a bear, were not merely physical victories but spiritual affirmations of God’s unceasing protection. These experiences had solidified his trust in the Divine. The spirit of David is encapsulated in his bold proclamation to Goliath: “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord.” Armed with faith and a simple sling, David delivered the fatal blow, sending Goliath to his doom with just a solitary stone. Following this divine triumph, Goliath’s once-feared head was presented in Jerusalem, and his weapons took their place as trophies in David’s tent. They joined other tangible testimonies of David’s victories, such as the lion’s mane and the bear’s paw – each emblematic of God’s unyielding guidance and protection. It is within this biblical context that Michelangelo’s sculpted masterpiece, David, finds its resonance. Michelangelo, with unparalleled artistry, captures David not in the aftermath of victory but in the moments leading up to the confrontation: poised, contemplative, yet fiercely determined. The heart-shaped pupils, a subtle yet profound detail, may symbolize David’s profound love for God and his undistracted focus on the divine. Just as David’s gaze was set unwaveringly upon the Lord during his trials, Michelangelo’s rendition beckons us to emulate that divine focus. Every individual confronts their ‘Goliaths’, be they gargantuan fears or insurmountable challenges. These adversaries often loom larger in our perceptions than their actual stature. David’s saga serves as a timeless reminder: in facing our giants, it is imperative to recall our past victories and the numerous divine interventions that have graced our lives. His story encourages us to steadfastly fix our eyes upon the Lord, deriving a strength that transcends human limitations. After all, when giants are faced with divinely empowered faith, defeat is but an illusion. In 2021, I Robert Louis Hartley, bearing a deep-rooted passion for art history, undertook a pilgrimage of sorts to Italy. Confronted with the majesty of Michelangelo’s David, and was enveloped in an age-old realization: “Focus on the Lord.” This sentiment, echoing through the annals of history, reverberates even today, reminding us that as we face the Goliaths in our lives, a divine-centered approach not only guides but empowers. From its inception in the courtyard of the Opera del Duomo to its current abode in the Galleria dell’Accademia, Michelangelo’s David stands as an unyielding symbol of hope, resilience, and spiritual fortitude. Those privileged to witness this magnificent edifice are treated to a narrative that transcends mere artistry, plunging deep into the realms of unwavering commitment, divine affection, and the eternal dance of human spirit and celestial guidance. Never forget where focus when facing your giants. Proverbs 4:20-27 is a great reflection and sentiment to that focus.